Clothes – Friend, Foe or Secret weapon?

We’ve all heard of the saying ‘dress for the job you want not the job you have’ but have you ever considered dressing for the mood you want, the life you want, the person you want to be? The way we dress is a window in to our inner Self and whether we like it or not we will often be judged and  pigeon holed in a matter of seconds by the unfamiliar eye of an onlooker. These impressions can then become who we are known as. You know ‘that’ sort of person, the one who doesn’t know if she’s coming or going so Christ don’t give the new client to her. Or ‘hell yeah I want her in my gang’ So it’s up to us to decide what that first impression is going to be.

Clothes and the way we dress have functions way beyond the obvious keeping us warm and decent and if used wisely can bring about profound change both in our internal and external world. They can offer us an insight in to our own sense of self, how we value and respect ourselves or reflect the messages we’ve imbued since childhood about who we are and what we deserve. Often by identifying limiting and restricting beliefs and making small, subtle changes powerful transformations can take place.

I have used clothes to get me through so many difficult times particularly of late when a family member was desperately ill, relationships were being tested to breaking point and I had final exams to pass and assignments and client hours to complete in order to qualify as a counsellor. The pinnacle of 3 years hard work resting on this one moment in time when the rest of life was doing it’s best to derail absolutely everything. Each evening I would think about what I had to do the next day, the message I wanted to convey to the world (medical professionals, clients, tutors, other family members, friends etc) and regardless of how I was actually feeling I would put an outfit together accordingly. It didn’t solve all my problems of course but it DID make me feel more powerful and in control and thus more able to face life each day regardless of what it threw my way.

So next time you stand before your open wardrobe trying to work out what the hell to wear in the 10 minutes you have before leaving the house maybe take a second to consider perhaps our clothes deserve a little more respect and forethought. When used correctly they can be the secret weapon in life you never knew you had.

Functions of clothes

  • Clothes can affect your mood both positively and negatively. Think carefully about whether the black leggings and baggy sweatshirt is really going to make you feel fabulous and in control?
  • They are a tool for us to use. Clothes can be used to disguise, hide or enhance. Use them wisely and they can be your best friend.
  • The way we dress helps us bond with others. They help us identify our ‘tribe’ and where we feel we fit in. We often unconsciously seek out people who look like us because they feel safe. We know these people because they look like we do. ‘Hey I have a top like that’ = potential new friend!
  • Clothes and the way we dress can be used to explore the Self, our inner sanctum. What are we saying about who we are and what we feel we deserve by the way we present ourselves? Which parts of our character are being expressed through how we put our outfits together? How well do we look after our clothes? How much time and money do we spend on our outer selves and what does this say about our own inherent self-worth?
  • Clothes can be an incredibly effective coping mechanism as I can attest to. You may feel like life is spiralling out of control but you dress in a way that suggests its ok, you’ve got this, your totally in control here and a funny thing starts to happen. You look in the mirror, see this confidant and well put together person staring back at you and you know what? You start to feel stronger. And when you feel it you can start to believe it and then, well, the world is yours for the taking isn’t it!